Popular Assamese food item Yam has huge health benefits

Yam is rich in calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamin C and an excellent source of fibre

Magh or Bhogali Bihu , one of the most popular festivals of people of Assam marked by feasts and bonfire. The festival is a rich celebration of Assam's rich reservoir of traditional food and delicacy preparations. 
A special item which is eaten during this festive time in Assam is Yam (or Kath Alu in Assamese). Yam is a plant species. Popularly known as yams, Dioscorea are a type of tuber vegetable. Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania. Native to Africa and Asia, yam tubers vary in size from that of a small potato to over 1.5 meters in length and 70 kg in weight
During Magh Bihu kath alu is mostly grilled or boiled, peeled and then served with hot milk and jaggery or sugar. They have a distinct brown, bark-like exterior. The flesh can be white, yellow, purple, or pink depending on the maturity of the yam.
Yam in its raw form
Image: Yam in its raw form
Yams are known to have great health benefits. It is rich in calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, fats, vitamin C. Yams are not only an excellent source of fibre but also high in potassium and manganese, which are important for supporting bone health, growth, metabolism, and heart function.
Yams may help alleviate some symptoms of menopause. In one 30-day study, 24 postmenopausal women switched from their staple food of rice to eating yams in 2 out of 3 meals per day.
Copper is an important content in yam which is vital for red blood cell production and iron absorption. Eating yams boosts the brain. In one 12-week study, people who took a yam extract supplement scored higher on a brain function test than those in the placebo group. Yams contain a unique compound called diosgenin, which has been found to promote neuron growth and enhance brain function.
Diosgenin has also improved memory and learning abilities in mice in various maze tests. Yams may help alleviate some symptoms of menopause. In one 30-day study, 24 postmenopausal women switched from their staple food of rice to eating yams in 2 out of 3 meals (390 grams total) per day. Their blood levels of estrone and estradiol increased by 26% and 27%, respectively. Blood levels of estrone and estradiol " two estrogen hormones " typically decrease during menopause. Improving estrogen levels may ease menopause symptoms. 
Yet, another six-month study found that topically applied wild yam cream had very little effect on menopause symptoms, such as flushing and night sweats, compared with a placebo. Further research is needed to investigate the role that yams may have in relieving menopause symptoms.
Yam after being cleaned
Image: Yam after being cleaned
A few studies say that yam also contains antioxidants. Yams provide several antioxidants that may have anticancer properties. Yam also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce chronic inflammation. Several rat studies have observed that yam powder reduced inflammation related to several illnesses, including colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stomach ulcers. Still, more studies are needed to determine whether eating yams have the same anti-inflammatory effects in humans.



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